Valid Reasoning Behind Budget

by Drew Riebhoff

In the Sept. 17 issue of The Simpsonian I read the Our View titled “Large Operating Budget not for all,” where The Simp expressed its concern that student media was not funded this year, citing that if the SGA can support the new drumline or sponsor Dippin’ Dots for students, they should be able to fund student media. I disagree.

The drumline cost $5,000, and Dippin’ Dots was couple hundred dollars. All together student media costs over $30,000 to fund the newspaper, radio station and yearbook. That’s a bit of a price difference.

The senate didn’t just pick and choose which organizations received money, student media wasn’t funded for a couple of big reasons.

For starters, student media has always been a touchy subject on “to fund or not to fund” with SGA. It’s no secret that very few students listen to the radio, that student turnout for yearbook photos is low and students who actually pick up a yearbook might be even lower. The SGA has wondered, why spend so much money on something that’s not providing a good ROI for students? Every year during budget hearings, SGA has told the students in charge of media that if things didn’t change, funding would.

Also, there were quite a few financial issues this year. The radio and yearbook were in debt thousands of dollars, while the newspaper had a budget surplus of almost $20,000. Any other group that has come to SGA with a budget deficit has either been denied funding or had funding significantly cut (Intramurals in 2008 for example). Why should these groups be punished and not the student media? Why should SGA spend money on groups that either don’t know how to manage their money, or who really don’t need as much money; when they could support other organizations that could use the money and could be fiscally responsible with it.

As a former student who spent four years on “The Simpsonian” staff, and as someone who spent four years on SGA. I feel I know both sides pretty well. I know how important student media is to campus. And I believe they need to be present.

As an SGA member, I know that funding is never taken lightly. Budget hearings take hours and the discussion goes back and forth. And while I wasn’t present at the budget hearings for this year, I can assure you that this wasn’t a flash decision.

Student Media wasn’t funded for valid reasons , something that either The Simpsonian staff didn’t think about or chose not to mention for the our view. The way SGA was blamed was inappropriate.

So, I challenge the student media. Prove SGA wrong. Prove to them that student media is a vital resource to our campus and that you deserve funding. Clean up your act, get students to create a legitimate yearbook, find ways to increase listeners to KSTM, then when budget hearings come in 2011, you can say “look, this is why we need funded” and the SGA will have no reason to say no.

Drew Riebhoff ‘10